Korean Climate

Mean Temp 15.6°C 60.08 °F at Taegu     

Heavy Overcast

1950 Pacific Typhoon Season

Korea Temps - 1950-1953 - Station 143 (Daegu)


April 13, 1950 (Thursday)

Bio   Bio

One month after Bradley made his statement before the Senate Appropriations Committee, [on March 13] he received a letter from Mr. Vannevar Bush, which must have been alarming news in view of what he said before the committee.

Mr. Bush's TOP SECRET letter of April 13, 1950, to Bradley gave him a clear warning as to the serious state of the defense posture of the United States. Commissioned by Secretary of Defense - ARMY - Gray, Mr. Bush worked with the Army to study defense problems in Europe. The revelations of his findings were alarming and it caused him to write his letter to Bradley. He remarked to Bradley that

. ..[these] are serious and disturbing conclusions... .the problem of defense of the United States is in a serious condition, at which I am appalled. If this problem is attacked vigorously at this time, and properly can be put in satisfactory condition in a few years. If we drift as we are going, it will remain in unsatisfactory condition and might well lead to disaster....the result is that if war should break out tomorrow it would be a long desperate war, in which we could hope to prevail only after a period of years... [105]

Mr. Bush's concluding statement succinctly expressed the resolve necessary to repair the deplorable condition of U.S. defense:

The primary desideration (spelling in document] is that we should think fearlessly, without prejudice or false service interests, that we should face tough facts, and that we should act. We have the organizational machinery for all this, if it will function with sufficient vigor, and if it is allowed to do so. We need to get up to date, and to tackle our really central military problems with all our energy. We have the opportunity, if we have the will. [106]

Bradley did not have two years to fix the problem outlined by Bush; the Korean War broke out two months and twelve days after Bush wrote his letter. Bradley later conceded in his book, A General's Life, that the President's military budget cutting

. ..was a mistake, perhaps the greatest of Truman's presidency . belief that significantly higher defense spending would probably wreck the economy - was likewise a mistake, perhaps the greatest mistake I made in my post war years in Washington....1 was a dedicated fiscal conservative. I sincerely believed in those economists who were advising Truman to sharply limit defense spending. [107]

Collins also admitted that he supported the FY 1951 budget: "I likewise, as Army Chief of Staff, defended the $13 billion budget before the same senate subcommittee. [108] Collins as well as Bradley admitted that the military budget they supported - as well as the other Chief's of Staff - was not sufficient for maintaining a strong defense:

From this record it is clear that members of the JCS, including General Bradley and myself, shared with the President, the Administration, and the Congress the responsibility for reductions in JCS estimates of military requirements, the Korean War.[109]

which so hampered our conduct of The readiness shortfalls and the leadership's inattention to them outlined earlier indicate senior military leadership may not have grasped the extent of un-preparedness or the probable nature of warfare in the Cold War era. If they had, these in themselves raise serious questions about how existing money was spent. Another leadership pitfall is also suggested here. The senior leadership clearly gave in to the pressures of the President and Congress and failed to stand for a course of action that would promote the best defense. This supports the idea the senior leadership...

found themselves in a tough moral dilemma. They did not agree in the slightest with Truman's budget... but Johnson was the civilian authority to whom they owed obedience and loyalty.  They had either to support his orders or resign. None elected to resign; they unanimously supported the Johnson Budget.[110]

Collins commented directly on this sensitive subject - believing that his loyalty was to the President so long as he held the position as Army Chief of Staff, but, when he morally could not support that policy, then it was time to resign:

I always believed in loyalty to the President, who as Commander in Chief, bears the ultimate responsibility for the defense of our country an officer of the armed services should fully support the president's program once it has been determined...A Chief of Staff is some times faced with the dilemma of resigning or of going directly to the President, over the head of the Secretary of Defense which he is entitled by law to do if he cannot, military man, in all conscience as a responsible accept the final budget limitations.... When Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced . . . another cut in the Army budget for the fiscal year 1951, which would have resulted in a further reduction in the effective strength of the Army, I finally had to say to him, 'Mr. Secretary, this is the last cut in the Army that I will be able to accept.' Johnson glared at me, and I am afraid I glared back. I feel certain that if the Korean War had not intervened, I would have been relieved or forced to resign.[111]

Why hadn't our senior military leaders taken a stronger stance in addressing other critical deficiencies of defense? In view of the consequences to American soldiers, answers of ignorance, inattention, and loyalty to political leadership are weak defenses.


Notes for Thursday April 13, 1950